Is Internet Gambling Illegal in the U.S.?


Over at, occasional Reason contributor Declan McCullagh–he penned our June 2004 cover story about "the upside of 'zero privacy'"–asks whether internet gambling is, in fact, illegal in the United States. The immediate context for raising the question is a complicated World Trade Organization flap in which Antigua, home to many online casinos, is accusing the U.S. of protectionist policies.

But the most curious aspect of the topic is the vague status of Internet gambling in America, which leads to passages like this:

Even though the Justice Department believes that Internet gambling is illegal, it's become wildly popular in the last few years. The industry was expected to collect revenues of between $4.2 billion and $5 billion in 2003, according to a Government Accountability Office study.

Declan's whole story is here.

A few years back, Reason looked into online gambling; we couldn't figure out the precise legal status of things back then. Our stuff, and a shot of poker-playing dogs in cyberspace, here.